New Year – New Logic Board

Happy New Year!

My 2022 ended with a little stress – my computer crashed… A failed logic-board, meaning that I was completely reliant on my back-ups. To be honest, my initial feeling was relief. I’d really struggled to get to a creative place, typing one-handed, so I wasn’t sorry not to try anymore. I was mildly concerned that I may have lost what little work I’d done over the past 6wks – no knowing when I’d last backed-up – but I was hopeful I had something, atleast…

Christmas passed, and after a two-week tech-break, it was time to power up the revamp Mac. ⚠️⛔️⚠️ The new logic-board didn’t recognise my TimeMachine back-up disk!!! It looked like the disk was corrupt; 2+years of work… gone! (😱) Then … when we’d tried everything, and AppleCare was convinced it was a failed drive (Gaaaah!) they noticed that the new logic-board was still running on an outdated operating system. It was not compatible with my up-to-date Time Machine back-up, and therefore couldn’t recognise it. After 36hrs of stress (!!) and 6hrs of updates, I was finally able to restore all my old data. (Persistence pays!) AND I had run a back-up just 2wks prior to the crash, so very little was lost! (I even surprised myself, with that!)

Two things worth nothing:

1) If buying a Mac, buy AppleCare! This is my second Mac that has crashed out of warranty, but covered by AppleCare. (This was a 2yo machine, so I do find that concerning… But better to be covered than not.)

2) If at first your Time Machine data recovery doesn’t work… Update!

In other news, the New Year saw me released from my sling. Now trying to free up the frozen shoulder, and so glad I can type again!

Next week I’m thinking to revisit the Poetry Pep-up prompts from 2020. If anyone wants to join me for a 5-day pep-up, you’d be very welcome! Let me know in the comments. I’m thinking to create a padlet, for those who want to share poems and chat, but that’s optional. I’m keeping it low-key; a creative play with poetry friends.

Thanks to Catherine at Reading to the Core who is hosting our first Poetry Friday round-up for 2023. Sync or float – I hope it’s smooth sailing.🙃

DIY Nativity Story Stones

I love this simple story-stones activity in the lead-up to Christmas. I’m just wishing I thought of it when my boys were small – they’d have made a lovely, sentimental keepsake – and they’d be adorable painted in a child’s hand!

My first set is more detailed – and has more pieces. I was having so much fun (I did these in the early days of my broken collarbone!) that I thought I’d try a simpler version – hence the second set. (Click the pic for larger images.)

It’s kind of cool to match the shape of the rock to a suitable image. Would definitely recommend – for kids or adults. 🙂

I paired my story stones with the book; ‘The Christmas Baby‘, by Sally Ann Wright and Honor Ayres.

The activity can be extended further with these really cute DIY Finger Puppets, by Paul Hallam.

This week’s Poetry Friday is hosted by Karen Edmisten*. Thanks Karen!

The Gift

Baby
in a manger,
snugly swaddled, 
surrounded by
earthy aromas of
dust and straw,
musky animal scents;
  oxen,
    donkey,
      chickens ...

Lowly
shepherds,
unkempt 
        outcasts
garbed in workwear,
flock to
the babe,
as wise men
in faraway places
make plans
to lavish
gifts upon
the Christ Child.

Grateful 
for a place
to rest,
Mary and Joseph
wonder at
the miracle;

   Jesus.

© Kathryn Apel ~ All rights reserved.

Wishing you all a blessed Christmas season.

Peewee Alarm

Who needs an alarm clock, when you have courting peewees? This week we’ve become reacquainted with our resident peewee (up with the sun!) and I’m reminded of this poem & pic from 2019. The form is a fib – based on the Fibonacci sequence – but it’s no fib that we’ve been losing sleep over this little door-knocker and his mirror-image mimic in my bedroom glass! It’s hard to be the dominant male when your opponent mimics all your combat moves to perfection.

(It’s not very easy to sleep, either!)

Thanks Catherine at Reading to the Core for hosting our Poetry Friday gathering this week.

Busting Some Moves

I was emailing our lovely Irene recently, to thank her for her sweet snail story, (post to come) and I was lamenting my lack of blogging;

“I hope to share a snippet on my blog – though that is a little erratic of late. (I must blog, fullstop. Funnily enough, Australian publishers are saying that blogging is no longer a platform to invest time in. Which is not why I have stopped blogging. I have just been overwhelmed. And blogging is another form of writing – when I’m actually finding I have so many things demanding my writing – and I just want a little break. (If that makes sense??? The business of writing sure does my head in, sometimes. And I don’t want to lose the JOY of creative/passion writing!))”

(Cue the violins!🎻)

Irene’s reply was so simple;

“I do love our PF community. When I think about where I WANT to be online, it’s there above all else.”

And I thought, me too! I miss my Poetry Friday peeps. Even though I see some of you on other platforms, it isn’t the same as these Poetry Friday rounds. I miss our poetry connections. The inspiration! So – no more guilt for all the pictures and moments I’ve been wanting to share – but haven’t. No more missing out on this community. I am here. For the joy of it. And if sometimes it’s the shortest of posts just to stick my toe in the water, then that’s what I’ll have to do!

Here are my short offerings for today. This past week I’ve been forced to slow down and appreciate the little things; pics and short poetry. Already I’m starting to feel creatively refreshed.

The helmet worked – and has the dents to prove it!

Not a natural early bird, but I’ve seen a few sunrises this week.

Living the dream! I may never regain full use of my arm…

Poetry © Kathryn Apel  ~  All rights reserved

Poetry Friday this week is hosted by Jama at Jama’s Alphabet Soup. I am sure it will be nourishing!

Poetry Friday Round-up and Katch-up!

Have you every got so far behind in your blogging that you just don’t know how to get back on board?

That’s me. These past months. Months that have been so busy… with so much good stuff to blog about, and yet, so little time! I kept delaying… thinking I’d play catch-up – but the gathering momentum just made it harder and harder… until I was buried under overwhelm!

Fast forward to last weekend. When my calendar reminder popped up; HOST Poetry Friday. For a moment there I had dreadful panic, thinking that it was the Friday just passed! But fortunately it was not… It’s today! And you are here! 🙂 WELCOME!

This post isn’t a big catch-up post – though I do hope it starts the ball rolling. And if it doesn’t, I’m fine with that. But here are a couple of inter-related highlights that I thought you might enjoy…

Early August: Presenting in person at StoryArts Festival Ipswich with illustrator of ‘The Bird in the Herd’, Renee Treml. (Also chatting about possible future collaborations…🤫 ) This was so much fun – and having time to hang out with Renee for 5 days was awesome! Click the pic for more snaps. We only presented together on the Monday. All other sessions were individual – and a whole lot of awesome, too!

StoryArts Festival is a rather large festival that runs over 7 days, with about 30 kidlit creators in attendance – many staying onsite in a lovely old mansion. Think, school camp, for creatives! It was soooo much fun – and there are numerous posts on my Insta, to give you more of an idea… Presenting in a cellar was a highlight! (And yes, those bold sections are links to more pics and info on my Instagram page.🙃)

Viewing Tales and Trails, which was opened, coincidentally, while I was in Ipswich. Click the pic to read/see more of this on Instagram. I am totally in love with this project! Kudos to Ipswich Children’s Library. Yes, that is illustrator Janet Turner and I with our book, ‘Up and Down on a Rainy Day’ (Photo credit Lyle Radford) which is now a walk-through garden installation at The Rail Workshop Museum – a gorgeous, rustic (and lush!) location! And yes, the text is in braille, too!  So amazing.

Both of my 2022 releases continue to be well received, and I have loved sharing them at author events. (Though these pictures don’t capture either of them!) You can read snippets of some fantabulous reviews under the relevant Books tabs; ‘What Snail Knows‘, and ‘Miss Understood‘. They make my heart sing!

More recently, I’ve been working on some picture books projects – and productivity has been high! This past week I’ve finished two rhyming picture books that are now polished and on submission. (They have been in progress for some months – hence the quick turnaround. It is not always like this!) The chance to chat with other creators – and with young readers (!) at recent author events was just the boost I needed to push both projects through to completion, and I am very excited about them both!

In amongst all this, I had my final two poetry swaps, generously organised by Tabatha Yeatts. Poetry swaps are the perfect excuse to play with words and creativity – for fun! I love them!

It’s been a delight watching Mary Lee Hahn embrace retirement, and her zest for many (and varied) pursuits. With ‘a stitch in time’ in mind, I settled on a nonet for Mary Lee, celebrating her rapidly developing embroidery skills.

Mandala artwork by Mary Lee Hahn. Poetry © Kathryn Apel.

In pure poetry, I received this stitched haiku from Mary Lee, in return.💙 I’m so very happy to fly the Aussie flag!

My poem for Donna came right down to the wire. But with Donna’s appreciation for floral photography, I decided to pick a little splash of colour – and then focused on the little things. I snuck in two…

What have you all been up to? Please, do share via the comments – and also via the Inlinkz party. I’m preparing to fall down a rabbit hole as I play catch-up, not just on this Poetry Friday round, but also skipping back through previous weeks, too! 

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Paper Poetry

I’m popping in for Poetry Friday to share something a little bit different this week; a book I reserved at my library purely for the title. How could I not be intrigued by ‘Paper Poetry’? It’s a book of creative papercutting, by Helene and Simone Bendix, with photography by Ben Nason. It’s a luscious coffee table book. And it very much brings the lovely Linda Mitchell to mind!

I love that this book is called ‘Paper Poetry’ – because poetry is the art of words, and this book celebrates that in exquisite, detailed brevity. There were times that I forgot that I didn’t really have the time or the steady hand to produce these intricate creations. I imagined that I could – and my heart felt lighter. (And actually, there are some there that I am quite eager to try.) I marvelled at the craftsmanship and drifted through the papercut words.The poet in me also appreciated this quote at the end of the book. “Our handmade goods are for courageous women who want to add an element of poetic luxury to their everyday life. In some ways we feel fashion has lost that touch of poetry and fun…” I am all for a touch of poetry and fun in life – and I frequently find that clothes with personality help spread joy.

The book was an unexpected treat – and I’m delighted to share it with you, too. Now – to pick up scalpel and create some paper poetry of my own! But first, I’m off to check out the Poetry Friday link-up, at Mary Lee’s blog.

Sunny Side Up – Opposite Friends

This morning I was surprised by joy in my inbox. Margaret Simon was my PoetrySwap giver for this first round (when I was giving to Margaret, in return!🙃) and her joyful praise poem brought sunshine and smiles into my week.

Thank-you so much for these beautiful, encouraging words, Margaret. Hugging this poem to my heart. And thank-you Tabatha, for once again gifting us poetry; a reason to write, and a joy to receive.

I also wanted to share the link to an Aussie poet who experienced international success this week. I have not read Peter Ramm’s work yet – but I will be hunting it down. I love the backstory to his success. (Until 2016, he had not written a poem since high school.) Click across and read; The small town with a big potato that inspired a global poetry win.

Poetry Friday this week is hosted byCatherine at Reading to the Core. Hoping you all have a fabulous weekend!

Rainy Day Poetry – And Good News!

In February, the Poetry Sisters wrote Exquisite Corpse poems – and invited us to take part. And I did – but never got around to posting! (Story of my life, this year.🤦‍♀️) But during my travels around the North Burnett recently, I brought the exquisite corpse into Poetry Pep-up sessions. They were a great warm-up/ice-breaker activity. We were taken by the way different punctuation can produce different results; and the variety of visual images the same words inspired amongst participants – which was inspiration in itself, for further poetry. Here are some related to rain, which was in abundance at the time. All of them could be punctuated differently – and I’m not even sure that this is my preferred punctuation. 🙂 (You may have other interpretations?)

Pitter like soft feathers; mist falls. Happy thunder. Slip-bright truck-water.

Plop! Like a scout’s whistle, slippery trees, wading; cold tanks … floods.

Swoosh. Trickle like a treat, constant river splash. Quickly shelter. Verandah.

Over. As heavy as golf balls, washy river rattling melancholy chimney-skipping.

A drip hits the tin roof like splattering stones. Sombre castle; puddling, pattering, umbrella splatter.

Wooosh! I jump like a kangaroo; joyous. Puddle-melting, slippery-cloud gumboots.

Swoosh. As heavy as rocks; dark rainbow, dancing, exploring spit-creeks.

Churning like butter; pelting, swirling cool rainbow.

Clear gumboots. Runny wet puddle-drop.

(I was wanting to encourage playful use of onomatopoeia and creative similes – which you will recognise as the start point for these poems.)

Thanks to Karen aKaren Edmisten* who is hosting Poetry Friday today. I’m sure it will be raining creativity!

Oh – but before I go, I must also share the surprising joy I had this week, with the inclusion of ‘Miss Understood’ on the Speech Pathology Book of the Year Awards Shortlist. I had not expected that delightful bit of news in the same month that it released! (But I’ll take it.💕🐺💕)

Busy in Brissy

Today’s blog post is coming to you from Busy-Brissy, where I have been loving the chance to connect with readers of all ages – and writing buddies, too. (Though I’ve also missed catching up with a couple, thanks Covid.😿)

Thank-you St Johns Year 7, and St Peters Yr 5 for the warm welcome and wonderful interactions with staff and students. (The snails and I appreciated it!)

At St Peters, every child had read at least one of my verse novels. (And some kids had read three!) Any author event is special, and I love that there are always standout moments in each session – but when kids have read so many of your works, they really understand how you tick… and their questions – their thirst for information! – reflect that. I started the session asking them what they like about verse novels… and they gushed wisdom. I wish I could recall word-for-word the beautiful ways they expressed their appreciation. I can’t. One gem; ‘I love how your words make pictures. You make me feel like I’ve stepped into the story.’ Their insights have filled my cup and reignited my passion.

 

Gems of Wisdom
(Inspired by students)

shape poetry
and imagery
draw readers
into the story

less words
all story

eyes follow
words;
placement places
(and paces)
readers
on the page

can’t miss

the feelings

Draft © Kathryn Apel

Following the third session on my second day, someone commented that I must be exhausted – but I was not! I was energised. I love the chance to share a passion for poetry with kids. (And I’m rather delighted that kids are as fascinated as I am, by snails.)

It was wonderful to meet the librarian who has written the (excellent!) Teachers’ Notes for my UQP books, Christina Wheeler. I’ve always said that if I was the teacher, using my books in the classroom, I would do exactly what Christina has done with my books in the Teachers’ Notes. (I just didn’t know it was Christina until recently.🙃)

And then it was just a hop, skip and jump to meet my publisher Clair Hume and publicist, Jean at UQP. (Wish we’d grabbed a pic, too!)

As if that wasn’t ticking enough boxes, I then got to follow it all up with cuppa and cake with one of my faves, the darling of Brisbane, Samantha Wheeler.

On Saturday, I start school holiday sessions with Brisbane Libraries, including; Toowong, Garden City, Ashgrove, Carindale, Holland Park, Mt Ommaney, Brisbane Square & West End. (Also Helensvale on the Gold Coast.) Bookings are essential, through relevant libraries, and sessions vary – so check to see what is offered, if you live in Brisbane. (Saturday session; Toowong (PB reading/farm themes) and Garden City (teens poetry workshop).

Aside from all this wonderful creative cup-filling, I have been filling my car with prayers (and thanksgiving) as I navigate city traffic in my beautiful little blue Rav. (I cannot tell you how many hours I have stressed this, over recent months!)

Staying Car-lm

Car navigation system
as clear as the confusion
of criss-crossing
carriageways.

Recalculating…

Heidi at my juicy little universe is hosting the Poetry Friday community this week. I look forward to popping in and out during my travels over the coming week – though I may not get to comment much, sorry. I will be on the hop – in that little blue Rav.💙 Stay safe!

Poetry Friday Round-up – Release Week

I cannot believe it is the first week in March already – and yet, here we are, with storms and floods ravaging large areas on the south-east coast of Australia and Ukraine digging deep to show incredible fortitude in the face of aggression. My heart has been heavy. May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13 (NIV)

And in amongst this turbulence, What Snail Knows slipped quietly into Australian bookshops – followed by beautiful, detailed reviews and so much love. I hadn’t expected such a response – and I am incredibly thankful for those who have taken the time to share. Here’s a little snippet from some of them. (Click the reviewer’s name to read each review in its entirety.) 

💗 Kim Yeoman: I am in awe once again of Kathryn Apel’s skill in weaving together similes, metaphors, alliteration, imagery, rhyme and shape poetry with compassion and creativity to tell Lucy’s story.

💗 Lamont: Lucy is a character that you will fall in love with from the start. This story will be thoroughly enjoyed by junior to middle primary level readers.

💗 Sandy Bigna: This beautifully constructed verse novel for younger readers gently illuminates themes of loneliness, belonging, kindness, friendship and family. It will both break your heart and make you smile. Highly recommended for your 7+ reader.

💗 Barbara Braxton: A most poignant verse novel… a potent story of loneliness, friendship, acceptance, and building and connecting with community.

Mandy Foots light pencil artwork bring Snail and Lucy to life.

To coincide with release week, I was interviewed on the Australian Alphabet Soup blog, so if you’re intrigued about the answer to any of these questions, click the pic to read more.

Australian readers can also leave a comment on UQP’s Facebook or Instagram giveaway posts for your chance to win a copy of the book.

And don’t forget to leave your links below, for the Poetry Friday round-up.

I’m looking forward to catching you all on the rounds.

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